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Public meeting Wednesday on Kannapolis’ downtown plan

By Megan Braun

For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — Since purchasing 50 acres of downtown property nine months ago, the Kannapolis City Council and staff members have prepared a comprehensive plan for revitalizing the area. The master plan outlines several ideas which research shows are needed and viable in order for Kannapolis to have a prosperous and vibrant downtown within the next decade.

“Step by step we have worked to thoroughly understand the property we have purchased, research the market for what we need in our downtown, develop a plan to revitalize the downtown over the next decade and analyze the financial costs for our vision of downtown,” said Mayor Darrell Hinnant.

Included in the plan are two “anchors,” which are the projects that consistently bring a significant amount of people to an area. A sports and entertainment complex and a performing arts center are the proposed anchors. One idea is to move the Kannapolis Intimidators games to the downtown area and renovate the current stadium for other uses.

“These anchors are ‘game changers’ for us,” Hinnant said.

A boutique hotel, multistory office complex, and a mixture of retail and restaurant spaces are also included in the plan. Residential living areas are also proposed, which will be woven throughout downtown.

Though the city will be built up, the plan includes preserving the most historic block of buildings downtown, including the GEM Theater. Large green tree spaces, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks are also being added for the community to enjoy the outdoors.

The council is expected to approve the master plan in late July. City Council is already accepting proposals from developers for the first project in downtown.

“There are lots of decisions to make, and we as a council favor as much public input as possible,” Hinnant said. The community is invited to take part in an in-depth conversation about the proposed plan at the public information meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kannapolis City Hall.

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